Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) made a show on November 18 of speaking out against the Democratic plan to return State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions to the federal tax code as part of the massive “Build Back Better” budget reconciliation spending bill. Reinstating the SALT deductions works to provide a sizable tax break to the highest-earning taxpayers in high-tax blue states.
Ryan took the opportunity to portray himself as a champion of ordinary Americans when he called the proposal “bullshit to even think about.” The next day, he changed his mind when he cast a “yes” vote for the bill and its SALT deduction tax breaks.
He is running for the Ohio Senate seat left open by Republican Rob Portman’s retirement next year. His flip-flop on the SALT deduction may cause him some discomfort with blue-collar Ohio voters. He began his Senate campaign by promising to “fight like hell” for working Ohioans. He described his first Senate political tour as a “Workers First” campaign to change an “economy that isn’t working for working people.”
Ryan’s vote to bring back the SALT deductions would provide a $60,000 tax break for households earning more than $1 million annually.
Republican National Committee spokesperson Dan Lusheck described the budget reconciliation spending bill as “Build Back Broke” and said it is “a slap in the face” for Ohio families facing inflation and economic uncertainty.
After the vote, Ryan defended his action by claiming the bill would “cut taxes for working families.” The Tax Policy Center issued a nonpartisan report indicating the bill would raise taxes for around 30 percent of middle-class taxpayers. Meanwhile, the SALT deduction will provide essentially no benefit for households earning less than $100,000 per year.
Unlike Ryan, some Democrats found the SALT deductions to be a deal-breaker. Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) said that the “SALT giveaway” is larger than the bill’s child care or senior care spending provisions. He added that the bill would give a millionaire “nearly 20 times more money” than a low-income family would receive through the Child Tax Credit.
Following Portman’s retirement announcement, a large field of contenders from both parties has jumped into the race for the Senate seat opening up next year. Republicans J.D. Vance, Matt Dolan, Josh Mandel, and Jane Timken are all fighting to make it into the general election next November.